The Phillies played their home opener yesterday and the outcome of the game or the fact that Cole Hamels didn’t pitch very well is probably less on people’s minds this morning than the fact that two of the guys expected to start the game for the Phils didn’t finish it. Jimmy Rollins was scratched from the lineup just before the game started with a calf strain and Jayson Werth left in the middle with a problem with his hip.
They won, by the way. The Phillies are 6-1 on the season after beating the Nationals 7-4 yesterday. They have won four in a row.
Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and a walk. Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run. He struck out six. His ERA after two starts is 5.06.
He got Nyjer Morgan to fly to left to start the game. Willy Tavares was next and grounded to short. Cristian Guzman was next and he doubled into left on the first pitch of his at-bat, but Hamels struck Dunn out swinging to leave him stranded.
Josh Willingham led off the second and hit a 2-0 pitch out to left to put the Nats up 1-0. Hamels set Ian Desmond, Ivan Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy down behind him.
Hamels set Washington down in order in the third.
Guzman led off the fourth and singled to left. Dunn was next and Hamels hit him with a pitch, putting men on first and second with nobody out. He struck out Willingham for the first out, though, and Desmond behind him for the second. Rodriguez was next and he hit the first pitch he saw into center for a single. Guzman scored to make it 2-0 with Dunn moving up to second. Kennedy walked to load with bases with two down for the pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis doubled softly to left, bringing in Dunn and Rodriguez and the Washington lead was 4-0. Morgan grounded out on a ball that Ruiz took out in front of the plate to end the frame.
The Phillies cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth. Hamels set down Tavares, Guzman and Dunn on two ground outs and a fly out in the top of the fifth.
The Phillies were up 7-4 when Hamels started the sixth. He got the first two to start the sixth before Rodriguez doubled to center. Kennedy was next and he hit a ball to short that Castro didn’t handle. Castro was charged with an error and Washington had men on first and third with two down. Righty Alberto Gonzalez hit for the pitcher Jesse English and Manuel called on Durbin to pitch to him. Durbin got Gonzalez on a soft grounder to first to end the frame.
Hamels had thrown 109 pitches in the game.
Contreras pitched the seventh for the Phils and set the Nats down in order, getting two strikeouts and a ground out. He’s allowed one hit in three scoreless innings while striking out four so far for the season.
Baez pitched the eighth and walked Dunn to start the inning, but got the next three batters on three ground balls to turn Washington away. Baez has allowed one walk over three scoreless innings in his last three appearances. He’s on pace to appear in 116 games. That would be too many — Pedro Feliciano led all pitchers in appearances in 2009 with 88.
Madson came on in the ninth looking for his second save. He struck Kennedy out for the first out. Willie Harris hit for the pitcher and Madson got him to foul out to Castro for the second out. Morgan grounded to second to end the game.
Baez threw 16 pitches, Contreras 14 and Madson ten. Everyone should be available on Wednesday thanks to the off day today and Halladay’s complete game on Sunday.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Marquis went (1) Castro (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Victorino (8) Ruiz. Rollins was a very late scratch with an injury to his right calf. There are no circumstances under which Juan Castro should be your leadoff man, including the circumstance under which your leadoff man gets hurt right before the game starts (possible exception is if the injury happens after the lineup has been submitted and it’s too late to change it, as a commenter points out).
The Phillies went in order in the first and again in the second.
Down 1-0 in the third, Ruiz drew a one out walk. Hamels tried twice to bunt and couldn’t and then hit into a double-play to end the inning.
The Phils were down 4-0 when they hit in the fourth. Polanco singled with one out and Utley followed with a walk. Howard got behind 1-2 quickly, but Marquis didn’t get a couple of close calls and Howard singled into left on a 3-2 pitch. Polanco scored to make it 3-1 and Utley went to third. Washington manager Jim Riggleman was ejected after the at-bat for arguing balls and strikes. Werth was next and hit a ground ball to third. Howard was forced at second for the second out, but Utley scored to make it 4-2. Ibanez flew to left to end the inning.
Victorino struck out to start the fifth, but Ruiz followed with a single to left. Hamels got the bunt down this time and it paid off when Rodriguez tried to get Ruiz at second and the ball went into center field. Rodriguez was charged with an error and the Phils had men on first and second with one out. Castro was next and he delivered a double into center, scoring Ruiz and sending Hamels to third with the lead cut to 4-3. Polanco singled into center and both runners scored, putting the Phils ahead 5-4. Utley was next and he pulled a 1-2 pitch down the line and off the screen for a two-run homer. 7-4. That was it for Marquis and lefty Jesse English came in to pitch to Howard with one out and the bases empty. Howard grounded out for the second out, but Werth dumped a single into center in front of a diving Morgan. English struck Ibanez out to for the third out.
Huge hits for Castro, Polanco and Utley in the inning. Nice to see Hamels get the bunt down, which helped set it all up. Ruiz went into second base hard on the Hamels bunt, making handling the throw from Rodriguez a tough task.
The Phils went in order in the sixth. Gload hit for Durbin with two outs and nobody on and grounded to first.
Castro, Polanco and Utley went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Howard started the eighth with a double off of lefty Sean Burnett. Righty Miguel Batista came in to pitch to Francisco, who had entered to play right when Werth left with a problem with his hip in the seventh, and struck him out. The righty Batista walked the lefty Ibanez intentionally to put men on first and second and then set down Victorino and Ruiz behind him.
Castro was 1-for-4 with a big double and an RBI and made an error.
Polanco 2-for-4 with two RBI, raising his average for the season to .484. He and Howard have combined to drive in 21 of the 50 runs the Phillies have scored on the season — Polanco has 10 RBI and Howard has 11.
Utley 1-for-3 with a walk and a two-run homer.
Howard 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
Werth 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Ibanez was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his early average to .161.
Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a walk.
No game today.
This suggests that Werth could be back in a few days and it may be longer for Rollins.
Update: This suggests Rollins is likely to go on the DL and Brian Bocock or Wilson Valdez could be added to the roster.
The Start Log is also updated. It shows that the Phillies have two quality starts on the season, both of which were made by Halladay. Happ had one good start where he threw five scoreless innings, but Moyer, Kendrick and Hamels haven’t been good.
The Phillies pitchers other than Halladay have combined to throw to a 5.61 ERA and a 1.56 ratio so far. Only the Nats and Pirates have fewer quality starts so far in the NL.
On the plus side, the Phils lead the league in runs scored and runs allowed. They’ve also scored more runs than any American League team.